Tag Archive: youtube


The Darren Lock Primer

I did this video before as part of the Google+ Hangouts and recorded the thing live, but I only had one viewer and the resultant upload quality didn’t really cut the mustard. So here it is again.

It is just a video of me talking about all the music I’ve recorded over the years and hopefully it will be of interest to some of you. Thanks for having the patience to watch it all!

Click here for HD quality

So here are those all important links…

My Music:
Amazon
http://amzn.to/lockmusic

Apple iTunes
http://bit.ly/lockitunes

CDBaby
http://bit.ly/lockcdbaby

Rhapsody
http://bit.ly/lockrhapsody

My Website
http://music.darrenlock.com

My Books

iTunes
http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/moofed/id513966067?mt=11
http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/dead-rock-star/id514090211?mt=11
http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/man-of-the-world/id516823353?mt=11

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0057ZP08K
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Rock-Star-ebook/dp/B0057H6XC0/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-of-the-World-ebook/dp/B007NUVA5O/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moofed-ebook/dp/B007NXIWPM/

Lulu.com
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/darrenlock

Or perhaps I can interest you in a T-shirt:
http://lock.spreadshirt.co.uk

Connect via social media:

http://www.facebook.com/thedarrenlock
http://www.twitter.com/darren_lock
http://gplus.to/vrooom

My Passion for MIDI Guitar

I’ve been into MIDI guitar for nearly 20 years now and when a viewer asked me to talk about the guitars in my collection, I thought it would be more interesting to talk about MIDI guitar and the various internal MIDI conversions I have performed over the years.

Click here for HD quality

The Stinkhorn EP

I’ve had some viewers ask what the music is in my videos and I use my own music to add some extra atmosphere to my work. You can listen to the music I use via an EP I have created. It’s called the Stinkhorn EP and costs £2 (though you can pay more if you wish). You can access it here:

http://darrenlock.bandcamp.com/album/the-stinkhorn-ep

Or use this handy player to listen to it:

And if you want to download a whole FREE compilation album, you can get that from my webstore too at:

http://darrenlock.bandcamp.com/album/easy-listening

Text Versus Video

In the past, I used to write down some of my thoughts about the records I was buying purely for my own entertainment. (Check out the review section of this site for some of the crud that I penned). I think I started doing concert reviews – as I liked to keep a diary of what I’d seen – and this extended to album reviews too, thanks to my involvement with a music fan site I am no longer involved with. I used to get a bit of traffic off these reviews and there used to be a spike in virtual footfall whenever I posted a review of a concert.

Indeed, the days after writing about a live gig I would see people searching on Google, seeking other people’s thoughts on the night’s entertainment. This was pleasing and a feeling of inclusion in the World Wide Web is a nice thing. I was happy to share my thoughts and share my experiences with strangers. It seemed a nice, productive way of spending my time.

This was until June of this year when I posted a review of a pretty high profile concert (Madness at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Ray David Meltdown Festival) and I saw zero traffic for my review. Nothing, nada, not a fucking bean. How so? I couldn’t understand why no-one would be seeking out reviews of the concert. I even went so far as to type in the gig into Google to see if:

1) There were any other reviews of the concert
2) If my website was even in the page ranking

I can’t remember exactly where my website rated but it was pretty deep into search results. Of course, people tend to search for something and then not bother clicking through 20+ pages of search results – so being on the front four or five pages is key to a successful website. Despite my review being very current (I posted it the same night as the concert), for whatever reason my words were designated by Google as not being relevant enough.

I then did some digging around and discovered that this year Google had changed their search algorithm, which apparently changed all the page ranking and now the search engine basis a websites suitability in terms of fresh, original content. Despite my site being packed with fresh, original content, I was no longer featuring highly. I saw my traffic plummet to single digit visits on some days and I found others on the Google Forums who were in the same position and wanted to know how to fix the problem.

There is no fix and there are businesses out there who depend on Google to direct customers to their sites and I read harrowing stories of established internet businesses finding their customers disappearing overnight. And there was nothing they, nor Google could do about it. It was all part of this search algorithm change.

So for a month or so, I watched my website die. OK – I didn’t have the greatest amount of traffic in the world, but people come to my site for certain requests and my regular daily traffic was gone – just one man and his dog was turning up. So I was left with the dilemma – do I quit now and take off all my content or do I try and come up with a new strategy? The weird thing was that despite my site being almost invisible on Google I was still shifting hundreds of Gb of data with my music and video files coming off the site. So I thought I would come up with a new strategy and it has kind of paid off.

Google and YouTube are the same company, no? There’s an awful lot of viewers on Google, right? So what if I try and harness the power of the two, bring them together and somehow kick-start the traffic to my site legitimately without using Blackhat SEO techniques? I had this idea to move my music reviews onto YouTube and then link to them via my site – cross indexing the two. I started my “Prog Review” channel and have seen an incredible increase in traffic to my site. My site is alive again. Huzzah! However, I have had to generate content for YouTube (which is Google) to get to this point.

But despite this success, I’ve had a couple of nay-sayers on the music website I used to be involved with saying that video reviews are crap because they can skim written reviews faster and sitting through some fat head flapping his chops about records takes up too much of their time. They do not want to be entertained, they want the facts fast. They kind of missed the point in what I was trying to do, but it got me thinking about Text Vs Video.

I personally cannot stand reading music reviews (or reviews in particular). People who are paid to write music reviews are the lowest form of life. They don’t buy the things they review, so therefore sit in an artificial domain compared to us serfs who actually pay out our hard-earned money and there is very often an agenda involved. Cripes, I used to work in magazines and on a number of occasions I had written stinky, honest reviews of products only to be told by my editor to bump up the score because an advert from the company involved was appearing in the mag. That left me pretty much fucking jaded with writing reviews for a living.

But yeah: words versus pictures? Will one supersede the other? I’ve been spending a lot of time on YouTube over the years and I’ve seen lots of interesting content made by enthusiastic amateurs who review electronics, computer games and what-not. And now I am trying to do the same. If you want to take part and be mildly entertained, then join me. But if you want to remain in the past, skimming reviews written by people who have no right to express an opinion, then play on, my friend.

The internet has changed everything…

To mark what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday, I have made another “Prog Review” video on YouTube explaining why I think Queen II is in fact a progressive rock album.

I have been using Roland guitar synths since 1994, starting with the now legendary GR-1 and working my way through to the most recent GR-33 version. Being a tech fanatic, it is no surprise that every time Roland releases a new shiny box, my pulse races and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. When the announcement of the new GR-55 guitar synthesiser was made at the 2011 Winter NAMM, the news was equally, if not more, exciting.

This time around Roland was marketing the GR-55 as a kit-killer, a one box solution that would do away with the GR-33, the VG-99 guitar modeller and any other stomp boxes you might employ. The promotional videos near enough spelt this out in huge flaming letters four hundred feet high. So, the GR-55 had a lot of hype to live up to but this didn’t stop me pre-ordering my unit.

I’ve had my GR-55 for a couple of weeks now and I thought it was time I posted some thoughts on it. First off, I must commend Roland for returning to a metal chassis when building their effects units. The VG-8 and VG-88 both sported metal cases and looked like Stealth bombers and this gave the units a sturdiness that was comforting. Other units such as the GR-33 or the VG-99 have relied on lighter, less solid plastic constructions, so it was nice to see that the big blue GR-55 was rock solid. It instantly makes you think you’ve bought a quality piece of kit. The buttons are solid, the footpedal exudes quality and there’s a nice big rotational control knob flanked by press buttons to act as your main navigational tool.

This is my Roland GR-55 guitar synthesiser

This is my Roland GR-55 guitar synthesiser

The display is lovely and large and is a refreshing change to other guitar synths I’ve had which often have relied on double line LCD displays which tire your eyes really quickly. The GR-55’s display takes a page from the VG-99 and writes its messages to you in large friendly letters. The editing and patch access takes getting used, relying on lots of flicking through the “Page” buttons to access features and it can be a bit overwhelming remember where patch functions are. But I am sure with some more practice this will come second nature to me.

But what about the tracking? Yes, the most important quality of a guitar synth is how well it tracks on your guitar and I can say, hand on heart, that the GR-55 is the best guitar synth for tracking I’ve ever owned. With minimum setup, even my nylon string Godin Multiac ACS was triggering sounds very accurately. The sounds themselves are very high quality and in my opinion, superior to the GR-33 and hark back to the top end synth sounds of the GR-1. Of course, some of the patches are near useless and will need tweaking, but I was very impressed with the pianos and the wind instruments. The flute patch itself is very expressive and sounds utterly convincing.

The unit also features a USB stick reader so it can be used to playback WAV files – making ideal for solo performers to pack backing tracks with them – and there’s a 20-second looper on board too. The looper itself is good fun allowing you to capture ideas and to overdub on the top of the original loop ad infinitum, but compared to one of the RC units put out by Boss (Roland’s dedicated guitar business) it feels quite limited. However, it is an extra value feature you get with the unit and should be considered in those terms.

Connectivity involves a USB connection to a computer allowing you to backup any patches, but I don’t think that there’s a dedicated patch editor for the GR-55 yet. This would be a great tool to have, especially if you have trouble editing on the GR-55 unit itself.

But the big question thrown up by the GR-55, or more specifically by Roland’s original promotional material, is whether you can throw away all your other effects units if you buy a GR-55? Well, you can certainly sell your GR-33 on eBay because this is the superior item on every level. But if you use a VG-99 for recording, then you might want to consider holding on to it because some of the COSM guitar modelling sounds OK, but nowhere near as rounded as the VG-99. Of course, hearing is subjective and you might think them acceptable. I can see the GR-55 being used by gigging players to replace racks of equipment as I think the pedal would be great in a live situation.

Overall, the GR-55 is a jump forward in the technology and a welcome addition to my sonic armoury. If you are considering purchasing one of these units then you I believe you won’t be disappointed. If you are looking for a cheaper option or your first foray into guitar synths, then check out eBay for all those GR-33s and GR-20s that are being offloaded by new GR-55 owners!

And here are three videos I’ve made to demonstrate the GR-55. I used my Godin Multiac ACS nylon string guitar to show how well the GR-55 tracks.


Roland GR-55 Piano Patch Demonstration


Roland GR-55 Flute Patch Demonstration


Roland GR-55 Patch Compilation

And here comes the self-publicity bit where I foolishly try to convince you to buy some of my music, much of it recorded using guitar synthesisers, funnily enough:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/darren-lock/id4151062

And here is a complete demo of the pre-programmed patches of the GR-55: